Kitty Travers’ La Grotta Ices book has arrived just in time for us to catch some of the early summer flavours that the undisputed ice-cream queen has captured in recipes that you and I can make rsweatyight now.

Forget the hackneyed flavours and scary colours we’ve become accustomed to, think rhubarb and raspberry, rhubarb and angelica, blackcurrant leaf water ice, strawberry and elderflower or amalfi lemon jelly ice.

I first came across Kitty selling ice-cream from her little ice-cream cart in Maltby Street Market in 2009.

You could choose either a cone or a little tub with a timber scoop. The flavours sang of summer, the combinations original and the texture deliciously silky.

Kitty came to the Ballymaloe Cookery School in 2012 to share her magic and the story of how an ice-cream obsessed teenager eventually got to follow her dream. (It’s all in the introduction of La Grotta Ices).

She brought her pacojet all the way from London by plane so she could show us how she achieved this enticingly smooth texture.

A pacojet gives sublime results but you don’t need an expensive machine to make home-made ice-creams, sorbets and granitas. A freezer is of course essential, one can just freeze the mix in a bowl but you’ll need to whisk the icy granules every 30 to 40 minutes. It’s possible, but definitely a bit laboursome, so the next step up is one of those ice-cream machines where you store the ‘churn’ in the freezer overnight before use.

Many of the ‘small appliance’ electrical companies make them. They are inexpensive and certainly worth the expense if you enjoy making ice creams and sorbets.

An ice cream machine like Gaggia is more expensive and ever ready but difficult to justify the expense unless you do a lot of entertaining or have a small restaurant or café.

Whichever option you choose you’ll need some superb recipes and beautiful ingredients. The very best rich milk and cream, Jersey, Kerry or Guernsey are beautiful. Use super ripe fruit, in season, vanilla extract — nothing fake, and no milk powder to make the texture creamier and more dense, or dextrose or trimoline to allow the ice-cream (or gelato, the Italian word for ice cream) to be more scoopable.

In Kitty’s opinion dry milk powder has a cooked taste that interrupts the sweet pure flavour of fresh cream and milk.

It contains roughly 50% lactose compared with fresh milk which is 4.8%. Skimmed milk powder is a prevalent ingredient in many processed foods even yoghurt, consequently many of us are consuming lactose in much higher quantities than we used to.

Kitty wonders if that could be connected to the growing incidence of lactose intolerance — an interesting question… Many of Kitty’s ice creams are made on custard flavoured bases, cooked to no higher than 82C and then ‘aged’ overnight in a refrigerator at 4C for at least four hours or better still overnight.

Others are made just from milk with maybe a little cream and some tapioca or corn flour. Kitty is forever on the lookout for new flavours and flavour combinations.

It sounds unlikely but cucumber and sour cream is one of her customer’s favourite summer ices — I love it too… Kitty started in her own kitchen; she now has an Ice-Cream Shed in a converted greengrocers in a charming square in south London. She sells her ice-cream in just three shops in London, Leilas in Calvert Avenue, The General Store in Peckham and and E5 Bakehouse in Hackney.

If you like ice cream and who doesn’t? Join us on Weds 11th July 7pm @BirchBristol to eat @LaGrottaIces’ new book. Tickets are £35 and include a welcome drink. There will be a vegetarian option but we are unable to cater for a vegan diet on this occasion. Call Birch to book! pic.twitter.com/7VsCwPevNI

Novelty ice creams are fun to try the first time but unless you want to lick the bowl clean they don’t get added to my list of favourites.

Nobody needs to have uneaten ice cream languishing in the freezer getting fish finger-y and frosty. Freezer space is important — you need some room for peas and ice cubes too!

I promise, though, that this recipe is no fad. It’s the most refreshing and pacifying of all ice cream flavours — what could be cooler? It has become a summer tradition, looked forward to — and not just by me.

Salting the cucumber first draws out excess water, concentrates the flavour and improves the texture of the ice cream. The salt should be barely discernable in the end result though. It’s incredible combined with strawberry salad and dill seed ice creams or on its own on a really sweaty day.

1 cucumber (about 500g), homegrown googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-incontent-4'); });

To prepare the ice cream: First peel your cucumber — use a vegetable peeler to remove all of the tough green skin. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and use a teaspoon to scrape out and discard the watery seeds.

Dice the cucumber halves then toss them in a bowl with the sea salt. Tip into a colander in the sink to drip. After 20 minutes, rinse the cucumbers briefly in a bowl of cold water and set on a clean tea towel to drain. Chill in the fridge in a lidded container overnight.

Heat the milk in a non-reactive pan. Stir often using a whisk or silicone spatula to prevent it catching. Once the milk is steaming, whisk the whole eggs and sugar together in a separate bowl until combined. Pour the hot milk over the eggs in a thin stream, whisking continuously.Return all the mix to the pan and cook over a low heat until it reaches 82C, stirring all the time to avoid curdling the eggs, and keeping a close eye on it so as not to let it boil. As soon as your digital thermometer says 82C, place the pan into a sink of iced water to cool.

Add the sour cream to the custard and whisk it in — you can speed up the cooling process by stirring the mix every so often. Once the custard is at room temperature, scrape it into a clean container, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge.

To make the ice cream: The following day the cucumber will have expelled more water; pour this away then blitz the cucumber and custard together in a blender. Blitz for 2 – 3 minutes until very, very smooth – you don’t want any frozen lumps of cucumber in this ice cream. Use a small ladle to push the cucumber custard through a finemesh sieve or chinois into a clean container.

Pour the custard into an ice cream machine and churn according to the machine’s instructions, usually 20 – 25 minutes, or until frozen and the texture of stiff whipped cream.

Scrape the ice cream into a suitable lidded container. Top with a piece of waxed paper to limit exposure to air. Cover and freeze until ready to serve. Best eaten within a week.

Glimpses of Martinstown House @hiddenireland #learnatballymaloe #growcooknourish #curragh @martinstownhouse

Trying the flavour of blackcurrant leaves for the first time is almost like finding out that a new colour exists. It’s a singular perfume… a bit like white acid drops… a bit like green leaves… reminiscent of exciting chemicals.

If this sounds weird, don’t let it put you off. It’s delicious enough to be up there as a fourth flavour, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla pale in comparison.

To prepare the water ice: Gently heat the sugar and water together in a small pan to make a syrup, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring this syrup to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and add the blackcurrant leaves.

Cover the pan with cling film and leave the syrup to cool in an iced water bath for about half an hour. Zest and juice the lemons. Measure out 250ml of the juice (I’m sure you’ll find something to do with any that’s left over) then add this and the zest to the cool syrup. Stir then strain through a fine-mesh sieve, squeezing to extract as much liquid as possible form the blackcurrant leaves.

To make the water ice: once the mix is chilled, give it a good stir and then pour into an ice cream machine and churn according to the machine’s instructions until frozen and the texture of slushy snow, usually about 20-25 minutes.

Scrape the water ice into a suitable lidded container. Top with a piece of waxed paper to limit exposure to air, cover and freeze until ready to serve.

Note: This is a water ice rather than a sorbet as it doesn’t have the “body” provided by a fruit purée. It will naturally be icy and a little ‘melty’ but intensely refreshing.

Make a delicious refreshing bunch of fresh berbs sorbet by replacing the blackcurrant leaves with 30g fresh soft green herbs or blossoms of your choice.

I like to experiment with dill, parsley, basil, chervil, mint or anise hyssop. Even a few honeysuckle, calendula or sweet pea blossoms make a nice addition (maybe not chives). Chop them up finely and add to the hot

Alternatively, omit the blackcurrant leaves entirely and follow the method above to make a classic lemon sorbet. It’s nice to add the fresh zest of 1 lemon to the mix before churning for visual appeal – otherwise real lemon sorbet has the misfortune to look like mashed potatoes.

All recipes from La Grotta Ices by Kitty Travers, published by Penguin Random House. Photography by Grant Cornett.

Sadly I can’t make this ice cream that often, because it annoys me too much the way people see the words ‘sea salt’ and literally screech to a halt in front of my ice cream van when it’s on the menu.

What is it with sea salt? Sprinkle it on strawberry yoghurt if you love it that much – I’ll be just fine here with all the fresh peach ice cream which no one pays any attention to. Pine nuts though, I can get excited about. I’ve joined Facebook groups for them!

Fatty and addictive, with a smokiness that pairs well with sweet and savoury flavours. In this recipe, liberally salted pine nut brittle is stirred into freshly churned, rosemary scented caramel custard ice cream. I accept it’s utterly delicious.

To make the pine nut and rosemary brittle: Toast the pine nuts over a very low heat in a pan for 10 minutes, until warmed and just coloured, then pour them into a bowl and cover with a clean tea towel to keep them warm.

Heat the sugar, glucose and a tablespoon of water together slowly in a pan until the grains of sugar have dissolved. Swirl the pan to mix; do not stir.

Add the butter, bring the mix to the boil and boil steadily until it reaches 150C on your digital thermometer.

Meanwhile, pick the rosemary leaves, adding them to the bowl of pine nuts along with the baking powder and sea salt, then mix well, ensuring there are no lumps of baking powder. Have a whisk or heat-proof spatula to hand.

As soon as the sugar reaches 150C, or a dark caramel colour, tip the pine nut mix in and whisk well to combine. The mixture will bubble up because of the baking powder so use a long heatproof spatula or whisk to keep your hands safe from burns.

Pour the hot brittle evenly onto a silicone baking mat. Cover with another non-stick baking mat or a double sheet of buttered baking paper, and roll quickly and firmly with a wooden rolling pin to evenly spread the brittle into a half-centimetre layer. Leave to cool.

Break the brittle into large pieces and store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container, or roughly smash into chunks ready to add to the freshly churned rosemary-caramel ice cream.

To prepare the ice cream: Sprinkle the bottom of a heavy-based pan (ideally stainless steel) with 100g of the sugar in even layer. Place it over a medium heat and cook slowly and without stirring until it begins to melt and caramelise.

Swirl the pan to achieve even caramelisation. Cook the caramel to a dark colour until just smoking, then pour in the cream and milk to stop the cooking process. Add the sea salt and warm the liquids over a medium heat to dissolve the caramel, this may take 10 minutes.

Stir but do not boil as you don’t want to evaporate the liquid too much. Once the caramel has dissolved, whisk the remaining 20g sugar with the egg yolks until combined.

Pour the hot liquid over the yolks in a thin stream, whisking continuously. Return all the mix to the pan and cook over a low heat until it reaches 82C, stirring all the time to avoid curdling the eggs and keeping a close eye on it so as not to let it boil.

As soon as your digital thermometer says 82C, remove from the heat, add the fresh rosemary leaves and stir them in, then place the pan into a sink of iced water to cool. Speed up the cooling process by stirring the mix every so often.

Once the custard is at room temperature, transfer it into a clean container, cover with cling film and chill. To make the ice cream: The following day, use a small ladle to push the custard through a fine-mesh sieve or chinois into a clean container. Discard the rosemary leaves then liquidise the cold custard with a stick blender for a minute.

What a treat: work this afternoon is a behind-the-scenes peek into the La Grotta Ices ice cream shed, courtesy of Kitty Travers.

Cookbook out 21 June; ice cream on sale each summer weekend at Bermondsey’s Spa Terminus. pic.twitter.com/7egdEvRnqT

Pour the custard into an ice cream machine and churn according to the machine’s instructions until frozen and the texture of whipped cream, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer the ice cream to a suitable lidded container, sprinkling in generous handfuls of crushed pine nut brittle as you go (you will need about half the amount you made). Top with a piece of waxed paper to limit exposure to air, cover and freeze until ready to serve.

Note: Just in case you have any left, you can store any extra brittle between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container. I always save silica gel sachets and slip one of these in too for good measure (to help keep the brittle crisp).

Cold Plate Freezer Truck

Easy Summer Edible Treats: Seek out some delicious smoked artisan chicken or duck breast from Ummera Smokery near Timoleague in west Cork, www.ummera.com.

Also try Frank Headman’s warm smoked salmon from the Belvelly Smokery Stall in the English Market or Midleton Farmer’s Market, Saturday 9am to 2pm.

Dining Car, Fast Food Cart, Fast Food Truck, Hot Dog Trailer - Gangting Dianche,http://www.magiccar168.com/